Household Items That Are Actually Endangering Your Family from Household Items That Are Actually Endangering Your Family

Household Items That Are Actually Endangering Your Family

Household Items That Are Actually Endangering Your Family

An average house easily accumulates 100 pounds of dangerous waste, which often remains until the residents move out or do an extensive cleanup, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. You don’t have to “go green” to protect your family from toxic chemicals hiding in cleaning products, kitchen sponges, cookware, mothballs, and even scented candles.

 

Oven cleaners

Oven cleaners

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The problem with oven cleaners is the sodium hydroxide in them. It’s also found in drain openers. The chemical is very corrosive and can cause redness and skin burns if it comes in contact with the skin. It’s toxic if ingested. Choose baking soda paste instead. You can safely clean a drain by pouring baking soda and a cup of vinegar in it. Run hot water down the drain after 30 minutes when the bubbles stop.

Scented candles

Scented candles

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They may smell good but what you’re inhaling can really harm you. The benzene chemicals can irritate the skin and cause breathing problems. Reproductive issues and damage to the brain and central nervous system have also been listed as possible side effects, according to the EPA. As they burn, the candles release toluene, another carcinogen. Consider essential oils or soy-based candles as replacements.  

Old air filters

Old air filters

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A poorly maintained AC system can become contaminated and potentially harmful, studies suggest. Moisture-related HVAC components such as cooling coils and humidification systems may be sources of contaminants that cause adverse health effects. Findings also provide an initial suggestion that outdoor air intakes lower than 18 stories in office buildings may be associated with substantial increases in many symptoms such as worsening asthma problems and allergies.

Dish sponge

Dish sponge

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The sponge is often referred to as the dirtiest item in the kitchen, if not in the entire house. It is 200,000 times dirtier than a toilet seat – and could even cause paralysis due to bacteria called campylobacter. There are around 10 million bacteria per square inch of a kitchen sponge and a million per square inch on a dish cloth, according to research. Fecal bacteria from raw meat fester in the moist environment. Change it every week or so.

Bath mats

Bath mats

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Anything from the floor increases the risk for mold and dander. It makes sense if you think about it. They are soaked after you leave the shower, providing a moist environment where mold and bacteria can thrive undisturbed. Make sure you follow the washing instructions. They usually need to be laundered once a week at a very high temperature and with bleach. Don’t wash together with bed sheets or clothes.

Shower curtains

Shower curtains

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Most plastic curtains are mildew magnets. Washable fabric shower liners will last longer than plastic ones, but do you really want to bother to wash and clean them often? Besides, you’re still going to have to throw them out in about three months. People with mold/mildew allergies will probably need to replace them even more often.

Toilet bowl cleaners

Toilet bowl cleaners

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Acidic toilet bowl cleaners are among the most hazardous cleaning items you can find in your home because of their corrosive ingredients, the worst of which is hydrochloric acid, or HCl. It can lead to skin burns and eye pain if a person comes in contact with it. The effects can be even worse if mixed with chlorine bleach and ammonia. If inhaled, kidney damage and respiratory tract irritation are possible.

Antibacterial soap

Antibacterial soap

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“Antibacterial” only sounds like a good product but it’s the triclosan component in the soap that causes problems. The Food and Drug Administration says that animal studies have shown triclosan, alters hormone regulation. Other studies in bacteria have raised the possibility that triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics. The ingredient kills all – bad and good bacteria. Wash your hands with water and regular soap to prevent the spread of germs, or use natural hand and dish soaps that don’t have triclosan, chlorine, or phosphates in them.

Hand sanitizers

Hand sanitizers

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Triclosan is also largely found in hand sanitizers. It has been linked to hormone problems, infertility and early puberty. Some manufacturers are replacing the harmful chemical with benzalkonium chloride, which is another antibacterial ingredient. However, it has been shown to aggravate asthma symptoms. According to the CDC, benzalkonium chloride can cause other health problems. If inhaled, it can lead to sore throat and coughing; it can cause pain, redness, and skin burns; blurred vision and deep burns are possible side effects if it comes in contact with the eyes; and if ingested, it can cause stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and burning sensations.

Stain-resistant furniture

Stain-resistant furniture

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The problem here is the PFC compound used to make everyday products more resistant to stains, grease, and water. These chemicals’ concentration increases over time in the blood and organs. The EPA says that research in animals has linked PFC to low birth weight, delayed puberty onset, elevated cholesterol levels, and reduced immunologic responses to vaccination.

Gas space heaters

Gas space heaters

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Anything that is powdered with gas releases toxins into the air. This is especially dangerous if you’re using the heater inside because it can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Every year, at least 430 people die in the U. S. from accidental CO poisoning, according to the CDC. That’s why the agency recommends to never use a gas range or gas oven to heat a home.

Air fresheners

Air fresheners

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The problem with air fresheners is the phthalates in them. These chemicals can lead to hormonal imbalances and reproductive problems. Side effects for men include lower testosterone levels, decreased sperm counts, and lower sperm quality, according to the National Resource Defense Council. Exposure to phthalates during development can also cause malformations of the male reproductive tract and testicular cancer. Many air fresheners don’t even list phthalates as an ingredient.

Cans

Cans

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Canned goods are a problem because of the BPA chemical (bisphenol A) in the cans. The chemical is used in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. But studies link it to health problems like diabetes, neurological disorders, and breast and prostate cancers. Because BPA is an unstable compound and is also lipophilic (fat-seeking), it can leach into food products, especially when heated.

Juice blenders

Juice blenders

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“They are an interesting case,” Bruce White, Education Committee Chair at the Indoor Air Quality Association, says. Most people don’t clean the bottom thoroughly, he adds. “It holds a gasket where bacteria actually stay.” You increase the risk of variety of health issues, White says, such as salmonella, norovirus, and listeria. The CDC issued a warning and recalled certain dairy products after several deaths. Past outbreaks have been due to listeria in raw vegetables.

Furniture polish

Furniture polish

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They are combustible and contain the chemicals such as phenol and nitrobenzene. They are easily absorbed by the skin. Nitrobenzene can cause many harmful health effects such as irritation, a blood condition called methemoglobinemia, which affects the ability of the blood to carry oxygen, headache, irritability, dizziness, weakness, and drowsiness, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR). Skin exposure to high levels of phenol has resulted in liver damage.

Certain laundry detergents

Certain laundry detergents

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The hazardous ingredients are cationic, anionic, or non- ionic solutions. If swallowed, cationic detergents can cause nausea, vomiting, shock, convulsions, and coma; non-ionic detergents can irritate skin and eyes, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Fumes from some cleaning products may induce asthma in otherwise healthy individuals, the Environmental Working Group says. Common cleaning ingredients can be laced with the carcinogenic chemicals. Independent tests have detected their presence in numerous name-brand cleaning supplies.

Bleached products

Bleached products

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These include chlorinated paper towels, toilet paper, and bleached coffee filters. Long-term exposure to chlorine gas has resulted in respiratory effects among workers, including eye and throat irritation and airflow obstruction, according to the EPA. Bleached white flour is usually made with benzoyl peroxide, and cake flour is bleached with chlorine dioxide. Both chemicals are considerably bad for you.

Non-stick cookware

Non-stick cookware

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Non-stick pans and pots are very tempting but can also be harmful. This kind of cookware has been made with chemicals that can be harmful to the liver, thyroid, and immune system in general. The problem is perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Toxicological studies on animals indicate potential developmental, reproductive and systemic effects, according to the EPA. Go for stainless steel, glass, ceramic, or iron pots and pans.

Old mattresses

Old mattresses

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Back pain and insomnia can both be the result of a bad or worn-out mattress. Also, bed bugs, tiny bloodthirsty insects, can be a big problem. It’s very hard to get rid of them; you’re better off throwing out the mattress and getting a new one. There have been no reported cases of bedbugs transmitting disease to humans. But the blood-sucking insects can cause anxiety and sleeplessness. Other concerns with old mattresses are mold, bacteria, and dander. (Don’t forget to wrap it in plastic.)

Indoor carpets

Indoor carpets

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What make carpets in the house potentially hazardous are the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the glue and dyes. New carpet installation is the primary source of VOCs. The largest release usually occurs within three days. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects, according to the EPA, such as conjunctival irritation, nose and throat discomfort, headache, and an allergic skin reaction.

Pizza boxes

Pizza boxes

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Harmful PFAS chemicals can be founded in many items, including pizza boxes. While they are strong enough to keep grease from soaking through, many of the chemicals that make up the box can end up in your body. Studies have found that PFASs can cause cancer and interfere with the immune and reproductive systems in laboratory animals. Put your to-go pizza slice in foil and forget the box.

Multipurpose cleaners

Multipurpose cleaners

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The multipurpose cleaners widely used for windows and kitchen items have 2-butoxyethanol, the ingredient that gives cleaners their distinct smell. Many products don’t list this harmful chemical on the label because they are not legally required to do so. Side effects include breathing problems, low blood pressure, lowered levels of hemoglobin, and metabolic acidosis (high levels of acid in the body), according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

Mothballs

Mothballs

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They are on the list because they can be dangerous to children. Some countries have banned mothballs containing the chemical naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, according to the Connecticut Department of Public Health. Both become a gas when exposed to air which are irritating to the eyes and lungs and may cause headache, dizziness, and nausea. They are also both suspected of causing cancer. Naphthalene is the more toxic ingredient as it causes red blood cells to break apart, a condition known as hemolytic anemia.

Tick products

Tick products

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They pose a danger not only to you but to your dogs or cats as well. Thousands of pet deaths related to spot on treatments with pyrethroids were reported to the EPA over the years, the Humane Society reports. The EPA assigns risk levels to all pesticides for their potential dangers to humans and some flea and tick products contain chemicals – specifically permethrins – that are likely to be carcinogenic to humans.

Old paint

Old paint

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Homes or apartments built before 1978 may contain lead paint. The highly toxic metal can cause a range of health problems – damage to the brain and other vital organs, like the kidneys, nerves and blood, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Lead may also cause learning disabilities and seizures. Signs of lead poisoning include headaches, stomachaches, nausea, tiredness, Kids may show no symptoms.

Pressed-wood products

Pressed-wood products

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In 2016, EPA published a final rule to reduce exposure to formaldehyde emissions from certain wood products. Acute and chronic health effects of formaldehyde vary depending on the individual, according to the CDC. Common symptoms from acute exposure to formaldehyde manifest as irritation of the throat, nose, eyes, and skin. This upper respiratory tract irritation can exacerbate asthma symptoms. Chronic exposure can also lead to chronic bronchitis, and obstructive lung disease.

Plastic containers

Plastic containers

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You may have heard of the toxic bisphenol-A (BPA) found in plastics. BPA disrupts normal endocrine function, studies have shown. The chemical can have a significant impact on the brain. BPA also messes with hormones even at low doses, a University of Texas study has indicated. Don’t take a chance and switch to glass containers or stainless steel.

Old makeup

Old makeup

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Most common products’ shelf life is 24 months; mascara is three months. Makeup products have a lot of preservatives to keep them fresh. As time goes by, they become less effective leading to change in color and consistency of the product. Also, bacteria inside the product start to grow without the preservatives, which can damage your skin.

Expired food products

Expired food products

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Some items have a very long shelf life and that’s why people forget to check the expiration date. But it’s there for a reason. Products won’t work after a certain amount of time. You can risk food poisoning, cramping, and vomiting.

Extension cords

Extension cords

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The problem with extension cords is how they are used. You should check the voltage capacity and make sure you don’t exceed it. Plugging in every charger you have may create a fire hazard. Never use a cord that feels hot or is damaged in any way. Do not run extension cords through walls or ceilings. This may cause the cord to overheat, creating a serious fire hazard, according to Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI). Also, Make sure that cords are not pinched in doors, windows, or under heavy furniture, which could damage the cord’s insulation.

Toothbrush

Toothbrush

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Unless you got a new toothbrush a month ago, throw it out. They have to be replaced at least every 3–4 months, according to American Dental Association (ADA). The bristles become frayed and worn with use and cleaning effectiveness will decrease. Check brushes often for wear and replace them more frequently if needed. Children toothbrushes need replacing more frequently than adult brushes.

Household Items That Are Actually Endangering Your Family